Insulin and Syringes for my Diabetic Dog

Today, we are going to chat about the two most commonly used insulins for Canine Diabetes and the syringes needed for each. I know that all syringes look the same to most of us, but that could not be further from the truth.

Novolin N

Let’s start with the more cost effective insulin and syringe combo, which would be Novolin N with U-100 syringes. For many vets, this is not their “go to” insulin as it is “human” insulin. Novolin N is a 100% intermediate-acting insulin with a longer onset and duration of activity when compared to regular insulin. It has 100 units of insulin per mL (U-100) and must be used with a U-100 syringe. I know that many vets will only prescribe Vetsulin for Diabetic dogs, but we have found in our Facebook group (Canine Diabetes Support & Information) that Novolin N is a much more consistent tool to get dogs in range (regulated) and keep them safe. Unlike its counterpart, Novolin N is an OTC (Over the Counter) medication in all but 2 states in the United States. That means that you can walk into Walmart (they have the best price) pharmacy and ask for Novolin N and U-100 syringes and in every state except for Indiana and Alaska, you can purchase them without a prescription. The cost at Walmart is about $24.99 therefore making it the more cost effective of the two insulins that we will discuss today. The Walmart Pharmacy puts their Relion logo on the box and that is the ONLY difference between buying it at Walmart for $24.99 and paying $148.00 at your corner drug store or grocery store pharmacy. Crazy right?! This insulin is easier on most dogs’ systems, but especially better for smaller dogs.


Vetsulin (also known as Caninsulin outside the United States) is a porcine (pork) based insulin with 2 components. If you know that your dog has a sensitivity to pork, this insulin is not for you! The two components are 1.) a 35% faster acting insulin component, and 2.) a 65% intermediate acting insulin component. If your dog has a hefty food spike (post-prandial spike), than this type of insulin may be a good choice for you and your pup. We will cover food spikes in our next entry on Wednesday. This insulin has 40 units of insulin per mL (U-40) and must be used with a U-40 syringe. These syringes are harder to come by and can’t be bought in a local pharmacy. You must purchase them from your vet or online. Thankfully, here at Advocate/PetTest, these syringes are now available and they have ½ unit markings! Vetsulin is a prescription only insulin and must be purchased from your vet or online for roughly $56.00 a vial.

It is imperative that you use the correct syringe for the type of insulin that you use. As you see above, Novolin has 100 units of insulin per mL and Vetsulin/Caninsulin has 40 units of insulin per mL. If you were to use the wrong syringe, you can overdose your dog and the result can be fatal. So… always, ALWAYS make sure that you are using the correct syringe for whatever type of insulin you are using with your Diabetic dog!

Many customers asked and Advocate/PetTest listened. As I mentioned above, both types of syringes are now available at the following links:

Remember to Like and Share these posts if you are enjoying them. Better yet, leave a comment below and tell us which insulin you use or post a picture of your “Sugar Baby” to share with the rest of us!